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Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls: Native American Veterans of the Vietnam War

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At least 43,000 Native Americans fought in the Vietnam War, yet both the American public and the United States government have been slow to acknowledge their presence and sacrifices in that conflict. In this first-of-its-kind study, Tom Holm draws on extensive interviews with Native American veterans to tell the story of their experiences in Vietnam and their readjustment At least 43,000 Native Americans fought in the Vietnam War, yet both the American public and the United States government have been slow to acknowledge their presence and sacrifices in that conflict. In this first-of-its-kind study, Tom Holm draws on extensive interviews with Native American veterans to tell the story of their experiences in Vietnam and their readjustment to civilian life. Holm describes how Native American motives for going to war, experiences of combat, and readjustment to civilian ways differ from those of other ethnic groups. He explores Native American traditions of warfare and the role of the warrior to explain why many young Indian men chose to fight in Vietnam. He shows how Native Americans drew on tribal customs and religion to sustain them during combat. And he describes the rituals and ceremonies practiced by families and tribes to help heal veterans of the trauma of war and return them to the "white path of peace." This information, largely unknown outside the Native American community, adds important new perspectives to our national memory of the Vietnam war and its aftermath.


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At least 43,000 Native Americans fought in the Vietnam War, yet both the American public and the United States government have been slow to acknowledge their presence and sacrifices in that conflict. In this first-of-its-kind study, Tom Holm draws on extensive interviews with Native American veterans to tell the story of their experiences in Vietnam and their readjustment At least 43,000 Native Americans fought in the Vietnam War, yet both the American public and the United States government have been slow to acknowledge their presence and sacrifices in that conflict. In this first-of-its-kind study, Tom Holm draws on extensive interviews with Native American veterans to tell the story of their experiences in Vietnam and their readjustment to civilian life. Holm describes how Native American motives for going to war, experiences of combat, and readjustment to civilian ways differ from those of other ethnic groups. He explores Native American traditions of warfare and the role of the warrior to explain why many young Indian men chose to fight in Vietnam. He shows how Native Americans drew on tribal customs and religion to sustain them during combat. And he describes the rituals and ceremonies practiced by families and tribes to help heal veterans of the trauma of war and return them to the "white path of peace." This information, largely unknown outside the Native American community, adds important new perspectives to our national memory of the Vietnam war and its aftermath.

33 review for Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls: Native American Veterans of the Vietnam War

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Boyer-Kelly

    One of the most informative texts ever written about Native American veterans that served in the Vietnam War, complete with an introductory chapter about the traditional views of the "warrior" figure in Native American communities. This text not only discusses the traditional past and its conflict with the Vietnam War, but allows for veterans to share their own stories. Rife with source material, both scholarly and from oral interviews, this book is a must-read for those interested in warrior id One of the most informative texts ever written about Native American veterans that served in the Vietnam War, complete with an introductory chapter about the traditional views of the "warrior" figure in Native American communities. This text not only discusses the traditional past and its conflict with the Vietnam War, but allows for veterans to share their own stories. Rife with source material, both scholarly and from oral interviews, this book is a must-read for those interested in warrior identity for Indigenous peoples or those interested in Vietnam War studies. It is good to see that Native American soldiers are no longer forgotten, as authors like Tom Holm are helping to give them a voice they previously did not have.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A good book concerning the unfair practices our government and military used in the Vietnam War. One statement that really got to me was the statement,"...many combat veterans continue to dwell on the belief that they were sent to fight a war they were not intended to win... These American Indians along with other minority ethnic groups were sent to fight the "White Man's War".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    The best part of Holm's book is his description of Indian Scout Syndrome. Where Native Americans were often put into dangerous positions, taking the point, because other American soldiers stereotyped them as natural scouts, possessing an innate understanding of the natural world. This stereotype is of course false, many Native soldiers came from urban areas, and the knowledge that Native Americans did possess came from taking the time to develop this skills, rather than an innate gift. Overall, I The best part of Holm's book is his description of Indian Scout Syndrome. Where Native Americans were often put into dangerous positions, taking the point, because other American soldiers stereotyped them as natural scouts, possessing an innate understanding of the natural world. This stereotype is of course false, many Native soldiers came from urban areas, and the knowledge that Native Americans did possess came from taking the time to develop this skills, rather than an innate gift. Overall, I thought Holm tried to do too much in this book. He states that Native American soldiers fought within the contexts of their traditional tribal conditions. While I believe this too be true I don't feel that Holm was able to fully support this contention with evidence. The highlights of this book was the actual accounts of Vietnam Soldiers experiences and recollections about their time in Vietnam. The accounts that were included did support these contentions but there was not enough of it in my opinion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    M.B. Dallocchio

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily Slomski

  6. 4 out of 5

    Koeeoaddi

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chaim Eliyah

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Riel

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eric DuMarce

  10. 5 out of 5

    Craig Werner

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chelsee

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martha

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jacob

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane Ramirez

  15. 5 out of 5

    Indira Valensa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah O'Neill

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cal

  20. 5 out of 5

    kate dore

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  22. 5 out of 5

    Todd Ligas

  23. 4 out of 5

    University of Texas Press

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

  25. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Dunlap

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andinoelle

  31. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

  32. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  33. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Grundy

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